Why businesses are increasingly leveraging today’s independent workforce

Why businesses are increasingly leveraging today’s independent workforce

The world of work is transforming in front of our eyes. Workers are joining the Great Resignation en masse, and the labor market is tightening at historic levels. In March 2022, there were 11.5 million job openings compared to 11.3 million in February 2022. 

As businesses grapple with the skilled knowledge worker shortage, many are using alternative workforce models to access the talent they need, when and where they need it. 

One particular approach that is gaining popularity among companies to fill capacity and capability gaps is hiring independent knowledge workers on demand. It’s a flexible workforce solution that enables businesses to gain seamless access to independent subject matter experts tailored to immediate project needs.

Many businesses are starting to see the strategic value of adopting this flexible workforce model. And here’s why. 

9 Benefits of Tapping into the Independent Workforce

Increases Access to Top-Tier Talent 

We now live in a completely different world compared to a decade ago. Technological advancements have made it easier for us to effectively work and collaborate remotely. And COVID-19 showed just how effective remote work could be. 

These changes have opened up the talent pool for organizations. They are no longer bound by their geographic location when seeking top talent. Businesses can cherry-pick the best pre-vetted, independent subject matter experts for the particular skills they lack (and require) by leveraging specific locations that offer a higher concentration of professionals with specific types of expertise. 

Addresses Capacity and Capability Gaps 

Finding skilled knowledge workers is becoming increasingly difficult for companies. A recent Forbes article estimates that by 2022 the global talent shortage will amount to trillions of dollars worth of lost opportunity for businesses. 

This is where onboarding independent knowledge workers on-demand can help. Organizations can quickly close hard-to-fill roles by selecting from a pre-vetted list of independent, highly experienced subject matter experts.

Consider the case of this east coast consulting firm. They required a world-class project manager to lead the development and implementation of an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework. 

Through Graphite, they hired Chris M., an ex-management consultant that boasts almost a decade’s worth of experience working with companies such as S&P Global, Barclays, and Accenture. 

Accelerates Speed to Market 

It takes an average of 42 days to onboard a new employee. Companies need to:

  • Prepare a job analysis
  • Post the relevant job description on job boards
  • Select which candidates to invite to interview
  • Conduct the interviews
  • Settle on a candidate
  • Run through the necessary background checks 
  • Wait for the candidate to see out their existing notice period

This process is time-consuming and costly. Even more so if you have a time-sensitive initiative to complete, onboarding independent subject matter experts on demand, on the other hand, can cut this process in half. 

Using an on-demand hiring platform like Graphite can enable you to find the right person for the project within 13.5 days from start to finish. Since the candidates are pre-vetted, they don’t have to serve any notice periods. 

Enables Workforce Flexibility 

Back in 2011, Harvard Business Review labeled adaptability “the new competitive advantage.” Eleven years later, this has certainly rung true — especially during the pandemic

Onboarding independent knowledge workers on demand provide organizations with complete flexibility over their workforce. They can scale teams as client and business needs evolve. 

Businesses can even create a pool, or a bench, of resources that are available on-demand when needs arise. For example, a Big Four accounting firm has created a virtual talent bench with Graphite for its human capital practice. This has allowed them to rapidly deploy talent for urgent client work when necessary, providing increased capacity on a flexible, on-demand basis. 

Enhances Productivity 

The independent workforce enables organizations to unlock greater productivity while simultaneously benefiting from increased performance. 

Instead of adding to an existing team member's already heavy workload or adding them to oversee a highly strategic project that requires specialized skills, businesses can outsource it to an independent subject matter expert. 

By taking this approach, companies can ensure that a project will be completed within an expedited time frame. Because the work is better distributed, it reduces the instances of employee burnout while increasing productivity and enhancing the employee experience. 

Powers Innovation

Bringing in a fresh outside perspective can go a long way to driving innovation. That’s because it’s “often easier for outsiders to connect disparate thoughts because they come to the table with fewer preconceptions than insiders,” according to MITSloan

Companies can tap into a potential goldmine of experience by working with independent knowledge workers on-demand. These experts work with many companies, exposing them to novel ideas, tools, and processes. This breadth of knowledge can be used to power innovative solutions and approaches, helping businesses reach previously unachievable breakthroughs. 

Fast-Tracks Deliverables and Deadlines 

At times when companies need to deliver a project within an expedited time frame, leveraging the independent workforce can help. Independent knowledge workers can hit the ground running immediately, supporting the organization in getting crucial projects over the line on time and on budget. 

Provides a Cost-Effective Approach to Legacy Talent Acquisition Approaches 

Most companies take an employee-first approach when filling a role. But given how quickly the business environment is evolving, the rigid model of legacy talent acquisition approaches can be time-consuming, costly, and inflexible. 

Onboarding the right expertise on demand, on the other hand, can help businesses reduce talent acquisition costs while being able to deploy said talent much faster than with traditional hiring practices. Not only does the on-demand talent approach reduce spend on finding and onboarding talent, it also benefits the bottom line. 

McKinsey research shows that companies that quickly allocate talent to evolving priorities deliver better results per dollar spent. More importantly, this approach enables companies to attain the agility needed to quickly respond to evolving business and client needs. 

Ensures you’re onboarding the right person for the role 

The virtual hiring process is far from foolproof. While recruiters, companies, and would-be employees can connect virtually, the approach is fraught with risk. A recent New York Times article explained how candidates are manipulating the virtual process.

Of course, hiring an independent expert via an on-demand hiring platform is still virtual. But there are checks and balances, such as Graphite’s thorough vetting process. Every independent subject matter expert is verified and accepted before joining the platform — ensuring that only screened and high-level professionals are on our talent network.

But that’s just the first step. When we source a candidate for an individual project, we vet them a second time around to make sure they’re the right fit. Calls are set up via the platform to review the project scope, dig into the expert’s experience, answer any questions either side might have, and even conduct an assignment if requested. 

Experience the Benefits of the Independent Workforce Yourself 

The independent workforce is only going to grow as more employees opt to join the Great Resignation. In turn, this will drive the use of online platforms to gain access to them. Leading organizations are already using this model to carve out a competitive advantage. 

It’s time your organization followed suit.

Get in touch today to learn more about how Graphite can help you gain access to the world’s best independent talent.

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